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Indian J Community Med. 2019 Apr-Jun;44(2):162-165. doi: 10.4103/ijcm.IJCM_213_18.

Prevalence and Risk Factors of Vitamin A Deficiency in Children and Women of Childbearing Age in a Southern Indian Tribal Population: A Cross-Sectional Study.

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Department of Community Health, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India.
Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India.



Night blindness and keratomalacia continue to be a problem among the tribal children and pregnant women residing in Jawadhi hills.


The objective of the study is to determine the prevalence and risk factors of Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) among children aged 1-8 years and women of reproductive age in a southern Indian tribal population.

Materials and Methods:

A cross-sectional study was done among children aged 1-8 years and women aged 15-45 years residing in Jawadhi hills. Participants were randomly selected by cluster sampling. Their sociodemographic characteristics and frequency of consumption of Vitamin A rich food were collected through a structured questionnaire. Anthropometric measures and serum retinol levels, using high-performance liquid chromatography, were estimated for all participants.


A total of 166 children and 211 women participated in this study. The prevalence of VAD among the children (1-8 years) was 10.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 5.5%-14.9%) and among women of the reproductive age group was 3.8% (95% CI: 1.2%-6.4%). Dietary intake was not associated with serum retinol levels. Low educational status of the head of the household (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 8.9) and pregnancy (aOR = 11.6) was significantly associated with an increased risk of VAD among children and women, respectively.


The prevalence of VAD among children is a moderate public health problem. Strategies must focus on pregnant women and children from families with more than four children.


Nutritional status; Vitamin A; serum retinol; tribal

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